With over twenty years of experience, JD.com has become a top technology and services enterprise with supply chain at its core. The company, also known as Jingdong and formerly called 360buy, started by selling authentic-only magneto-optical disks, but soon diversified to sell other electronic devices such as phones, computers or home appliances online.
Today, JD.com delivers all kind of products, including fresh and frozen goods across China. It has also diversified its business segments by tapping into diverse industries, as varied as logistics, technology, or health.
The firm has prospered throughout the years, becoming the first major Chinese e-commerce company to be listed on New York’s NASDAQ stock exchange in 2014, and ranking 59th on the Fortune Global 500 list in 2021. Today, JD.com serves hundreds of millions of households in China and connects them with hundreds of thousands high-quality brands and products worldwide.
JD.com is focused on developing the smartest, most efficient logistics systems possible. The company has built the world’s first fully automated warehouse in Shanghai, and is currently developing its own autonomous deliver vehicles. JD.com also invests heavily in research and development (R&D), with a focus on a number of key areas with a meaningful impact on its operations, including smart logistics and supply chains, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
In 2021, JD.com introduced a new mission statement: “Powered by Technology for a More Productive and Sustainable World.” Since 2017, JD.com had invested a total of RMB 75 billion yuan (almost 12 billion US dollars or over 10 billion euros) in R&D, making it one of the Chinese enterprises with the largest investment in technology. In the past six years, the growth rate of JD’s R&D investment has far exceeded that of its revenue.
Globally, JD’s vision is to “become the most trusted enterprise in the world.” It is transitioning its business model from “the world to China” to “China to the world”. In short, it aims to bring its knowledge in retail infrastructure – from logistics to supply chain, technology and other capabilities – to the world. It also aims to provide the most reliable retail platform to customers worldwide, to construct a full range of distribution channels, and to build the international cross-border trading platform.
In order to support that, Intellectual property is undoubtedly a valuable asset for the company and JD.com attaches an increasing importance to protecting its innovation and intellectual property rights. The company understands how WIPO’s Madrid System can support it in its mission to become one of the most trusted internet company worldwide.
As the services provided by JD.com grew, so did its intellectual property (IP) strategy. Trademark registration is an efficient means to protect a brand and JD.com realizes that a successful brand should have a solid trademark strategy.
JD.com has experimented fast growth in the past several years. However, with fast growth often come new challenges, especially in an online environment that goes beyond borders. These challenges are also accentuated when a company operates over a broad range of business areas. JD.com has several different business segments: retail, technology, logistics, health, insurance, property development and management, and overseas business. All these variables – a rapid business development in a broad range of business areas and across many countries and regions – set a high requirement for the JD trademark strategy.
A convenient and cost-effective trademark registration system like the Madrid System is beneficial for rapidly developing brands. JD.com has been leveraging it since 2012, to register effortlessly its different trademarks across several countries and regions with only one application. This saves the company long, bureaucratic procedures, document translations and different currency payments for the registration processes in each different country. Through the Madrid System, companies pay one set of fees in only one currency and language to apply for trademarks in multiple territories.
With JD’s fast international development, and the real-time spread of information on the Internet, its core trademark had to be registered rapidly in multiple countries, covering multiple classes of goods and services. In this regard, the Madrid System also offers a right of priority, meaning that by already having the trademark registered in its Office of origin, JD.com had a priority to register that same mark in all other member countries of the System.
Lastly, WIPO and the Madrid System offer the possibility of expanding the scope of protection, by adding countries or regions to an existing international registration through the subsequent designation procedure. These registrations can also be renewed simultaneously through online payment, which is highly convenient for trademark registration management. Both JD’s core trademark and new trademarks are registered under WIPO’s Madrid System.
JD’s core trademark “JOY + JD.COM” has seen its registered countries and classes increase through its use of the Madrid System. The mark’s logo is composed of the JD’s characters and of JD’s mascot, an animated white dog called JOY. JOY has appeared in several short movies and animations to commemorate events such as the Chinese Year of the Dog in 2018, and has starred in videos with other companies’ mascots such as Hello Kitty or LINE FRIENDS. Nowadays, stuffed JOY plush toys, keychains and similar gadgets can be purchased online.
One of the latest business models established by JD.com is a supermarket chain. SEVEN FRESH Supermarkets are technologically advanced stores where shoppers can use connected mirrors that display the origin and nutritional content of a product, as well as a mobile app for scanning and payment of the products. Some of the stores also provide tailored services. For example, one supermarket in Beijing has a special service section dedicated to elderly people, as well as a service to teach this demographic how to place orders online from home.
The registration for SEVEN FRESH Supermarket trademark was also made through the Madrid System. The advantage of using the System to register a new trademark was clear for JD.com. Considering most countries apply a right of priority, rapid and efficient registration of new trademarks can prevent trademark squatting, and lay a solid legal foundation for the future development and enhancement of the brand.
With over two decades of experience, JD.com has extensively grown and diversified its business areas both locally and globally. With a varied and wide portfolio, focused primarily in an online environment and the prospects of further expansion, the company needs a straightforward and efficient trademark registration system to protect its marks abroad. By registering trademarks through the Madrid System, JD.com enjoys privileges such as a right of priority to register existing trademarks in additional IP Offices, while also being able to easily manage active trademark registrations, renew them online, and expand their protection to new countries and regions.